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Recovery.gov Not Very Transparent 222

Posted by timothy
from the why-do-you-despise-progress? dept.
Bob the Super Hamste writes "CNN is reporting that the page recovery.gov is not as transparent as it claims to be. The examples pointed out are: 1. The user is greeted by a large pie chart that show the breakdown of money spent by 2 categories, state government distributions and local government distributions. 2. Finding projects involves a complicated search, information on projects is not actually hosted on recovery.gov 3. The format of the information available is of poor quality (the article specifically mentions a PDF document that was created from a scanned sideways copy of roadwork projects from New York state). Given that this site was meant to make the spending of the new stimulus money more transparent to the citizens of the Unites States of America it seems oddly opaque. CNN does seem to praise the ability for government agencies to be able to exchange HTML based information between systems, which for government I would call a massive accomplishment. I tried to find information for my state and searched for Minnesota. I got 4 matches, 2 of which were generic ones: one was the Minnesota state certification that is required for a state to receive funds and one that lays out public transportation spending for all states of which Minnesota gets $94,093,115."
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Recovery.gov Not Very Transparent

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  • by Yvan256 (722131) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @03:36PM (#27261201) Homepage Journal

    That's because IE6 doesn't support alpha in PNG images. It's time to upgrade your browser, dude.

  • by rackserverdeals (1503561) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @03:36PM (#27261203) Homepage Journal

    Finding projects involves a complicated search, information on projects is not actually hosted on recovery.gov

    Instead of complicated search, just a pie chart showing a few categories. This money was wasted, this money was not wasted, we have no idea what happened to this money but we no longer have it and I could have sworn we had it.

    • by oldhack (1037484)
      Don't forget the important category "What money?!".
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cayenne8 (626475)
        Hey....congress didn't read it all before they voted on it.

        They certainly don't expect YOU to read it either...

    • by Rei (128717) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @05:01PM (#27262283) Homepage

      The information is there; you just have to spend several minutes to find it. Of course, it's a massive challenge to bring all this info together -- I'm sure that's why they have only general summaries on the main page and leave the details up to the state pages (since the states have the nitty-gritty details). That's the lazy route, but it requires more work on the part of your visitors. For example, here's my state's highway projects [iowadot.gov] and our local road projects [iowadot.gov]. Apparently they're going to be doing an overlay on 218, which I take whenever I drive to/from Cedar Rapids; fixing the pedestrian bridge on US 1 that was damaged by the flood that I sometimes walk on; doing some repairs at the Melrose and Sunset intersection on the UI campus, which I drive through perhaps once a month; replacing a bridge I drive over fairly regularly in Coralville; and doing some reconstruction up in Cedar Rapids on a road I drive on about once a month. But I had to follow the link to the Iowa site and navigate around in there to get those documents.

      Tough challenge = slow implementation.

      • pork site:gov (Score:3, Informative)

        by TapeCutter (624760) *
        If I'm not mistaken all US federal and state web sites are in the domain .gov, here in Australia they are in .gov.au which is further broken into state domains such as vic.gov.au. This makes a global search easy using google's "site:" search modifier, eg: pork site:gov [google.com.au] gets around 248K hits - that's a lot of pork!
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Quothz (683368)

          If I'm not mistaken all US federal and state web sites are in the domain .gov

          The Feds mainly use .gov, but the states often use .xx.us in which xx is the state abbreviation. (The states also use .gov sometimes, and even .xx.gov).

          Districts and territories also often use xx.us subdomains, even those with top-level domains of their own. Sovereign Native American tribes use .nsn.us.

          The federal government has a few second-level stuff.us domains, as well. This all makes global searching using Google's site modifier a pain in the tuckus.

      • by FiloEleven (602040) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @10:25PM (#27264647)

        that was damaged by the flood that I sometimes walk on

        Jesus? Is that you?

    • by Mab_Mass (903149) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @05:24PM (#27262539) Homepage Journal

      3D pie charts that show only 2 numbers are the devil's work.

      What this tells me more than anything else is that although they want to be transparent, the people who put this together know almost nothing about presentation of data.

      Please, everybody, read Tufte [edwardtufte.com]. Even if you don't agree with everything that he says, think about his points.

      Then, for the love of God, never, ever, create a 3D pie chart again.

    • I may not be able to tell you where the money is going by looking at the site, but I sure can tell you where it's NOT going by looking at the site.

      It's not going into finding ways to present complex information easily to US taxpayers. Of course, they could probably spend the better part of the deficit on such a task and it wouldn't be a whole lot better.

  • I've been trying to find out how the money will be used at the NSF but it is all hearsay. I would apply for a grant if I knew something for sure.
  • by MindlessAutomata (1282944) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @03:36PM (#27261209)
    I'm completely and profoundly shocked over this startling revelation.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 19, 2009 @03:37PM (#27261223)

    US taxpayer money has *NEVER* really been tracked/reported fully and honestly. The public *NEEDS* to be aware of where their money goes. It is your money, your house, your car, your environment, YOUR GOVERNMENT and again, money.

    Accounting/reporting where the money goes may be expensive - but can we afford not to?

    Just please tell us where all this money is going. Be accountable for your actions. Be HONEST! The days of hiding shit are over.

    Open Source Government.

  • well at least... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mastergoon (648848) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @03:38PM (#27261235) Homepage

    ...the source of the site is transparent:

    http://www.recovery.gov/modules/system/system.module [recovery.gov]

    Hmm they really might want to get that Drupal updated to 6.10!

  • by scubamage (727538) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @03:39PM (#27261255)
    Considering the alternative was having no website, I'll accept this. Given that it has to be compatible with a wide variety of systems that Americans worldwide will be using to access it, and it had roughly 2 months of dev time, anything better than a "HAHA WE STOLE YOUR TAX DOLLARS" is at the very least appreciated. Even in its current incarnation, its better than trying to find the numbers on your own. Its not super usable, but its better than nothing.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by phantomfive (622387)
      Really it is just a start. Ideal would be to have a standard financial format for all government expenditures, that way we can create a website like google maps that charts everything that goes on.

      If I were president, I would put transparency, corruption, and a balanced budget at the top of the list of priorities, because those are like tar that slows everything else down. Once you actually have a balanced budget you can see clearly how many resources you have available to put towards health care, what
      • by CannonballHead (842625) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @04:02PM (#27261579)

        Unfortunately, it seems that now government officials need to have "experience" (i.e., they need to be properly trained in political corruption by former political experience). Normal people just wouldn't be able to do the job well, apparently. Stupid normal people.

        Which is, I presume, why we get such smart legislation as banning talking on cell phones (without hands-free stuff) but NOT banning text messaging, etc. That one just happened to be recent in my mind. (it's a CA law)

        • by charlesnw (843045)
          Laws that change human behavior take time and are incredibly expensive (lot of studies by those opposing/supporting the law, petitions etc). So the law was introduced in phases. Phase one required hands free, phase two eliminated texting.
          • Except it makes no sense. Talking on a phone with it on your ear is far better, as far as SEEING the road, than texting with your phone down (and thus you looking and reading it). It went in opposite order than it should have, if your phase idea were correct, didn't it? To me, it seems more of a "Look, we're doing something about it! Cool, huh?" reaction from Sacramento, I suppose because of some group that wanted it passed. I don't know who that group would be, though, to be honest. :)
        • by Mal-2 (675116)

          Incorrect. Texting while driving is also illegal. If the operator used speech-to-text to send it and did not have to touch the phone, that might be an interesting gray area, but as it stands now the only exemption is for "push to talk" systems, and that expires in 2011.

          Mal-2

        • Yeah, seriously. I was ok with the cell phone bill, it's when they took away my texting that I got really frustrated.
      • by Toonol (1057698)
        We'll have to settle for one out of three, right now: They're working hard on the corruption angle. They seem to be making corruption a requirement for a cabinet appointment, for instance.
      • by scubamage (727538) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @04:13PM (#27261711)

        Really it is just a start. Ideal would be to have a standard financial format for all government expenditures, that way we can create a website like google maps that charts everything that goes on.

        I believe they're working on that - like a standardized format for all government documents using XML. I would have sworn there was something about that on /. a few months ago, though I could have had one too many hits from the snake.

      • by Crazy Taco (1083423) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @09:29PM (#27264301)

        If I were president, I would put transparency, corruption, and a balanced budget at the top of the list of priorities, because those are like tar that slows everything else down. Once you actually have a balanced budget you can see clearly how many resources you have available to put towards health care, what can be sacrificed, etc. The government would run so much more smoothly.

        The one thing that should be even more important than those, however, is cutting back spending. It's not enough to just have a balanced budget... Soviet Russia balance its budget all day long, but overall spending was so high that they sucked their citizens dry with taxes, rewarded people who didn't work at the same level as those who did, and generally stifled their economy. Your anology about tar is actually good, but it doesn't quite go far enough. Really, it should be: "The government is like tar. If it is cut back, society as a whole would run so much more smoothly."

        PS - Does anyone realize that at the start of this decade, we had a two trillion dollar budget, and now it's four trillion? Does a 100% increase in ten years seem warranted? Does anything else in this country, whether it be individual incomes or corporate revenues, grow that fast? Does this seem sustainable? How many jobs have been destroyed by government (think of how many people could have been employed had that two trillion stayed in the private sector, rather than being sucked up by government)? This year alone, in a recession, several departments like "Housing and Urban Development" and the agriculture department got 45% percent budget increases. Does that seem right, when EVERYTHING else in America is scaling back? Is it sustainable?

        New York's economy just shrunk by about 4%, while Washington's grew by 3%. Does that seem right? The 165 million spent by AIG on retention bonuses (note: not performance bonuses) was 1/1000 of the amount given them in the bailout. Meanwhile, congress passed the 800 billion stimulus bill, the massive Omnibus bill, and the earmark bill. Is this sustainable? Why are we nitpicking this tiny amount when trillions are being spent and squandered? Especially since both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been giving out bonuses just like this, and they were bailed out even more? Could there be any more hypocrisy on this? Of course, Fannie and Freddie are Chris Dodd and Barney Frank's favorite institutions, institutions they protected from President Bush, who believe it or not fought to reform them earlier in his second term, before anyone even knew this was all coming. What a mess we might have been spared had that actually happened, although we still would have had problems, since Bush was probably the fifth worst president on fiscal responsibility... right behind Lyndon Johnson, FDR, Jimmy Carter, and already the grandaddy of them all, Barack Obama, who's own budget projections show he will add more to the national debt in his first term than all other presidents COMBINDED. By the way, is that sustainable?

        I would say, "Absolutely Not!", and that's why it is time for an immediate spending cut. And by the way Mr. President, we really do need an axe, not a scalpel.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Thelasko (1196535)
      <sarcasm>The site sucks! Recovery.com [recovery.com] is WAY better.</sarcasm>
    • by Gogo0 (877020)

      really?
      how about if they tax 75% of your earnings? do you reply "oh well, at least they didnt take 76%!"?
      when does bullshit stop being acceptable?

      its a ploy to gain public support by showing us vague pie charts.
      if 'transparent-enough' satisfies your definition of 'transparency' then i suppose that they met their goal.

  • by Lazyrust (1101059) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @03:45PM (#27261323)
    You can rotate PDFs in Adobe Acrobat Reader, right? I thought CNN had a tech segment on their network? Couldnt they just ask the mail boy or someone how to spin the PDF so they could read it instead of have this melt down at their desk?
    • by ksheff (2406) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @03:54PM (#27261469) Homepage
      They certainly could have. Other sites have pointed out that publishing PDFs containing scanned versions of the hardcopy of the legislation is more about giving the appearance of being "open" while frustrating those who want to do text searches on the legislation. Those who want to do that have to take the extra step of running the images through an OCR process, which may introduce errors. The legislation had to be typed in somewhere, so they should be publishing the text version instead of scanned images.

      None of this really surprises me.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        When people were freaking about that legislation being scanned PDF only, there was an ASCII .txt version on Thomas the whole time just like with every other legislation.

      • I've never looked at an actual bill (I've read laws, but only once they've already been passed and handed down as code.) so correct me if I'm wrong... but it seems kind of crazy to me to be using PDF at all. What's the point? What kind of amazing formatting could they possibly be using for a simple text document? Do we have pretty pictures and graphs integrated into our bills now? I'm just trying to understand why anyone would even come up with a scheme like that outside of the devious reasoning the parent
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jandersen (462034)

        Other sites have pointed out that publishing PDFs containing scanned versions of the hardcopy of the legislation is more about giving the appearance of being "open" while frustrating those who want to do text searches on the legislation.

        Or, to be fair, it could simply be because scanned hardcopies are easily available and therefore used as a first version, since speed is deemed to be important in this project. As I recall, many organisations with the need to handle large amounts of documents do it this way - they scan letters from clients, court documents and everything else, put it in a database and runs it through OCR if deemed necessary.

        I think what we need here is a slightly more balanced outlook. I know it is traditional in public dis

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chyeld (713439)

      If the thrust of your segment is "Look! They lied! This site is broken and will never be fixed! I can't USE IT!"

      Do you think the first thing you are going to do is go ask your techie how to use the site more smoothly?

  • by CoolCash (528004) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @03:46PM (#27261345) Homepage
    If you look at the time line you will see that July 15th, 2009 is when "Recipients of Federal funding to begin reporting on their use of funds."
    • good thing we were in such a hurry to pass the bill. (every month without a stimulus package is another 500 million lost jobs! [youtube.com]. inflamatory title on youtube video notwithstanding.)
    • by tsm_sf (545316) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @04:15PM (#27261755) Journal

      Here's a bit more of the timeline from the site... I seem to remember reading that there's no standard format defined for this data, so expect to see a bunch of garbage initially. If you want an easily manipulated database you might have to *shudder* get involved.

      July 15, 2009
      Recipients of Federal funding to begin reporting on their use of funds

      May 20, 2009
      Federal Agencies to begin reporting their competitive grants and contracts

      May 15, 2009
      Detailed agency financial reports to become available

      May 03, 2009
      Federal Agencies to make Performance Plans publicly available
      Federal Agencies to begin reporting on their allocations for entitlement programs

      March 03, 2009
      Federal Agencies to begin reporting use of funds

      February 19, 2009
      Federal Agencies to begin reporting their formula block grant awards

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by bar-agent (698856)

        I seem to remember reading that there's no standard format defined for this data, so expect to see a bunch of garbage initially. If you want an easily manipulated database you might have to *shudder* get involved.

        They have defined the standard format for this data, as well as many of the procedures required, and then put the instructions to the agencies and departments up on the site. See the detailed guidance memorandum [recovery.gov].

        If you ask me, that is very transparent.

  • a curious attack (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jamie (78724) * Works for Slashdot <jamie@slashdot.org> on Thursday March 19, 2009 @03:46PM (#27261357) Journal

    recovery.gov is not as transparent as it claims to be. The examples pointed out are: 1. The user is greeted by a large [pie] chart that show the breakdown of money spent by 2 categories, state government distributions and local government distributions.

    That's not an example.

    information on projects is not actually hosted on recovery.gov

    Did someone promise it would be?

    I would call [the information-exchange] a massive accomplishment

    Strange title to this story, then.

  • is spinning up or co-opting something similar to wiki leaks. We can get the text of most the bills passed in PDF and maybe in other forms. It would be difficult but I think challenging them is the best route. Using this site they get a cop-out. Some will claim it is better than nothing but that isn't true, they will hide behind a guise of transparency without giving any. Oh it might be there but there are other routes to get it. Why are we trusting them to do this?

    Heck, I would love to see every Cong

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by David Greene (463)

      Heck, I would love to see every Congressman's page on Wikipedia updated with all the earmarks for their districts and states and their vote on the bill which funded them.

      You mean like this [house.gov]?

      Congressional rules already require members to report their earmarks. More such rules are in the works.

      And why such hating on earmarks? Earmarks in and of themselves are a good thing because they allow members to bring very local concerns and needs into the federal budgeting process. Sometimes the executive branch doesn't quite understand the local situations on the ground. That's why Congress controls the purse strings.

      As long as earmarks are disclosed and go through some kind of vet

  • by Monkeyman334 (205694) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @03:53PM (#27261451)
    I work with contracts, and I can tell you that what you're asking for is not easy. A $100,000,000 contract is easily going to take up a wall full of filing cabinets. It's not like you have a spreadsheet and can just get an itemized list of all the line items. Also, if you get too detailed into pricing you start getting into competitive information, and companies don't like it when you release that information (it might even be unlawful to release it). You might think, why can't they pull a list of line items? Well, they might for the original contract, but what happens when they modify the contract? Well, you can't just delete the item, because the government often owes for the portion of work that was completed before the item was deleted. So ... the contractor puts together an estimate of how much they've spent already, the government evaluates it, and gives back just a portion. There are often so many changes that this is a full time job for 1 contract and it gets convoluted very quickly.
    • by Hatta (162192)

      I work with contracts, and I can tell you that what you're asking for is not easy. A $100,000,000 contract is easily going to take up a wall full of filing cabinets. It's not like you have a spreadsheet and can just get an itemized list of all the line items

      Tough, you have to do it, so make it easy. Put everything in a spreadsheet when you start drafting the contract; no expense goes in the contract without being entered in the spreadsheet.

      Also, if you get too detailed into pricing you start getting into c

      • by geekoid (135745)

        You seem to be under the impression that all organizations have the same data, kept in the same way, cut the same way.
        It is not nearly as easy as you think.

        You grab 4 large companies, and I will show you six different ways to do the books.

    • by lennier (44736)

      "Also, if you get too detailed into pricing you start getting into competitive information, and companies don't like it when you release that information (it might even be unlawful to release it). "

      Then the law needs to be changed. The use of public money must NOT be a secret. If the commercial partners can't cope with sunlight, they can cope with not getting our tax money, and someone else can take their place. Fair's fair.

      Yes, it happens everywhere right now. Secret trade treaties, secret outsourcing deal

    • by geekoid (135745)

      "...and companies don't like it when you release that information"
      to which I have always said "Too fucking bad."
      Fine, don't like that, don'
      t do business. The government has a lot of projects and they will find someone who doesn't mind to get bids from.

      It's just not one of those things that should be kept from the taxpayers.
      Yes, not EVERYTHING should be open.

  • by hansamurai (907719) <hansamurai@gmail.com> on Thursday March 19, 2009 @03:58PM (#27261513) Homepage Journal

    I would rather see the law making process more transparent, just look at the stimulus bill:

    • Obama promised not to sign bills that hadn't been posted online for the public to read for at least five days BEFORE the final vote was cast.
    • Speaker Nancy Pelosi, promised that the final version of the scam stimulus bill would be posted online for at least 48 hours before the vote.
    • The 1,073 page scam bill, with an extra 421 page Explanatory Statement, was delivered, still unfinished, at midnight Thursday.
    • The House passed the bill 14 hours and 24 minutes later.
    • The Senate did likewise 3 hours and 5 minutes after the House.

    source: http://www.downsizedc.org/blog/hiding+the+sausage [downsizedc.org]

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by hansamurai (907719)

      Sorry I left "scam" in there, didn't mean to present the site's bias in my post.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by geekoid (135745)

        By trying to hide the bias, you are giving the appearance that the information isn't biased. I fact, leaving it in there is a STRONG indicator it needs to taken with a grain of salt...the size of your head.

        For a moment I will assume it's accurate.
        You know what? considering the time they have had and the amount of change this is, I think they did a good job.
        If they are doing this crap 18 months from now they might have a point.

        Of course, I am not happy with the stimulus bill. I understand there thinking, but

        • by CannonballHead (842625) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @04:27PM (#27261895)

          The time they had? I think they had more time than they wanted you to think. When a politician says "we need to pass this bill now! we need to spend money now!" and when the bill is so long that most of the people that voted on it didn't even read it ...

          I really don't see how waiting 48 hours (two days) would have killed the economy. Oh my goodness, we had to wait 48 more hours before waiting several more months before getting stimulus money.

          If it wasn't bad enough that it's just spending more money than we actually have to somehow fix the problem of spending more money than we should be, on top of that it's been railroaded through Congress on the basis of a presumed crisis. I'm not saying there aren't people struggling or that the economy didn't "crash" but this is not the worst thing since the Great Depression (at least not yet, but the people saying that aren't forecasting with doubt, they're saying it IS ...) - of course, it was superficially inflated to begin with. What I am saying is that top democrats/leading democrats appear to have taken this "crisis" as an opportunity to push their agenda and "sell" it to the public using fear (including ridiculous numbers by Pelosi, who twice referred to "500 million jobs" being lost every month, etc).

          • by geekoid (135745)

            You missed my point.

            getting this information on the web and getting ti presented in a neat way is new. They are basically changing a lot of momentum. This takes time.

            This crisis is worse then the great depression. It's pulling down the whole world.
            I knwo people are used to see these huge lines in grainy B&W movies. But it's wasn't like you couldn't get around and that nobody was working.

            You have probably seen the classic B7W picture of the women looking off into the distance with her kids around? you ca

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              "do you have a cite for that Pelosi quote?"

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UR5M5teyQ0 [youtube.com]

              It's also worth nothing that the Great Depression was a global problem too [wikipedia.org].

              Secondly, politicians keep saying that this is going to be worse than the great depression, if it isn't already. They're saying, as you are repeating, that companies are losing jobs fast and that the unemployment rate might hit a whopping 8 or 9 percent in 2009. In 1982 the unemployment rate surpassed 10% [stlouisfed.org] and in 1932, during the great depression, the

  • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @04:03PM (#27261597) Homepage

    Go read this [cracked.com]. Here, let me quote:

    The Nirvana Fallacy is when you dismiss anything in the real world because you compare it to an unrealistic, perfect alternative, by which it pales in comparison. It wouldn't be a problem, except it keeps us from getting anything done.

    Pathetic when Cracked is out there teaching such basic lessons... *sigh*

  • but I for one welcome our mouse overlords.
  • Are criticisms of a new gov transparency important to get it improved? Yes. Should CNN be a lot more focused that this is a huge step in the right direction? Yes.
    • by jgtg32a (1173373)
      FOIA
      • by Dan667 (564390)
        Ok, let me clarify. We have not had any easy transparency.
      • by smbarbour (893880)

        For the most part, the answers have never really been secret. It's just been a matter of knowing what questions to ask.

        Whereas with the FOIA, you have to request the information you want, this is meant to be openly available to all.

  • ... something about public speaking: 10% content, 90% appearance.

    And don't compare him to Kennedy. J.F. didn't have shit falling out of his mouth when he spoke.

  • I've heard a lot of criticisms of the current administration, for all of its flaws, a mere 2 months into its run. The rule of thumb has always been it takes about 3 months for a President to get everyone in place and to get running. Add to that we're in the midst of a near financial meltdown and people are nitpicking about the precision of data covering trillions in expenditures on a federal website about 2 months old? Give it time.

  • I live in Minnesota. I also happen to have worked on transportation issues for many years. I know a bit about how this all works.

    Most of the ARRA transportation money comes through the Surface Transportation Program, which is based on a formula for state and mode allocation. The $94,093,115 for public transportation in Minnesota comes from that formula. The money goes to the state's Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and DOTs. The MPO for the Twin Cities is a combination of the Metropolitan Cou [metrocouncil.org]

  • The criticisms seem quite valid. At the same time, it's not surprising that all of the existing data wasn't in easily consumed formats, much less the same format.

    Give them time...

  • So you say your government's fucking its citizens up the ass for a buck ?

    I say cry me a river. What were you expecting, free ponies?!

    One man in a suit cannot change the world, especially when that man is merely a spokesperson for Corporate America.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      No, he didn't say that. He said that they are putting an unprecedented amount of information out, and it's a little difficult to navigate. sounds like it might ahve taken minutes.

      oh, the horror.

      One man in a suit can change the world.
      One whiny bastard on /. that doesn't know what the fuck he is talking about, can't.

  • Wow! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rmd6502 (613811)
    A politician makes promises that he doesn't keep. That's so unusual!
  • I distinctly remember a pie chart on one of those sites showing how the bailout money was going to be spent. The biggest category was something ridiculous like "tax relief", so I used the feedback link to ask why they bothered collecting the money at all if they were just going to use it to relieve taxes. I never got a response, but I'm absolutely sure the graph was there and that I sent the "feedback" on it.

  • the obama administration is attempting to be transparent. this is hard. it involves complicated financial arrangements. such that is very easy to poke holes in how complicated arrangements are attempted to be communicated in simple ways. its frankly impossible without finding someone somewhere who complains. the only way to be accurate, is to regurgitate all the fine detail, which if course, would also be criticized as being too complicated

    in other words, you can't win

    meanwhile, BEFORE the obama administration, there was not any attempt to be transparent at all. so the obama administration, rather than being lauded for trying to do something hard and asked for by the public, is portrayed in negative ways by partisan hacks because it falls short of the ideal

    hey, rather than kick them because you hold them to high standards, why don't you congratulate them and thank them for making such dramatic progress over all previous administrations?

    as time gtoes on, if obvious and straightforward progress is not met, then jump all over their case. meanwhile, what is it, march 2009? two months time?

    thank you obbama administration, and good job. ignore the usual unsatisfiable cranks

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